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Californium: Actinides

Californium (Cf)

What is Califorium?

A radioactive metal, californium (pronounced as kal-eh-FOR-nee-em) belongs to the family of actinides and denoted by the chemical symbol Cf. It undergoes reactions when heated with hydrogen, nitrogen, and halogens . It has 20 isotopes out of which californium-251 has a half-life of 900 years. Continue reading from Chemistry Learner

The History

In 1950, American scientists Stanley Thompson, Kenneth Street, Albert Ghiorso and Glenn Seaborg first produced californium in a lab at the University of California, Berkeley. It was the sixth synthetic transuranium ("beyond" uranium) element in the actinide group to be discovered. The discovery occurred when the chemists bombarded curium-242 with alpha particles (helium atoms without electrons) in a 60-inch cyclotron particle accelerator.  The scientists produced around 700,000 atoms of Cf-245, just enough to make a cube with sides measuring only 27 nanometers.   After a chemical analysis, the scientists confirmed that a new element had been discovered.  Continue reading from Live Science

Californium Facts

Californium-252 (half-life of 2.645 years) is produced in nuclear reactors and has found a variety of uses. It is used as a neutron emitter, providing neutrons for the start-up of nuclear reactors. It has also been used as a target material for producing transcalifornium elements. Ununoctium, the heaviest of the elements, was produced when a californium target was bombarded with calcium ions Californium-252 is used in to treat cervical cancer. It is also used to analyze the sulfur content of petroleum and in neutron moisture gauges to measure the moisture content of soil. Continue reading from Chemicool

Chart of Elemental Properties for Californium

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